Harvey Weinstein Won’t Testify in Criminal Trial Though He Was ‘Willing,’ Attorney Says

“He was ready, willing, and able — and anxious — to testify,” Arthur Aidala tells reporters outside the courthouse

Last Updated: February 11, 2020 @ 10:41 AM

Harvey Weinstein’s defense team rested their case on Tuesday without calling the mogul to testify, though one of the ex-mogul’s lawyers said Weinstein was “willing” and “anxious” to testify in the criminal case.

“He was ready, willing, and able — and anxious — to testify to clear his name,” Arthur Aidala, one of Weinstein’s attorneys, told reporters outside the courthouse. “Mr. [Damon] Cheronis and Ms. [Donna] Rotunno, joined with the rest of the New York team, advised him that he did not need to do that because the evidence presented in this case was anemic at best.”

The defense rested its case on Tuesday morning after an extended break in which Weinstein and his team deliberated behind closed doors as to whether the defendant should testify before the jury. Weinstein ultimately agreed with his counsel and did not appear on the stand.

Weinstein’s defense team had also sought to call the ex-mogul’s surgeon to testify that the producer did, indeed, have a spine operation and that he is not “faking it” with his walker. “It has been reported on incessantly about his walker, about his ability to stand and walk for extensive periods of time,” Damon Cheronis, one of Weinstein’s attorneys, said at the end of Monday’s proceedings. “We are making no argument, nor will we, that in 2013 or 2016 or any of the relevant periods of time throughout the course of this case that his back or his condition made it impossible for him to commit the crimes alleged.”

Justice James Burke swiftly denied his request. “That has nothing to do with the case at hand,” he said.

Weinstein, who faces charges of predatory sexual assault and rape, has pleaded not guilty and denied accusations of nonconsensual sex. Closing arguments will begin on Thursday, and the jury will begin deliberations next Tuesday after the Presidents Day holiday.